Still clinging onto hope of a playoff berth, the (5-7) Philadelphia Eagles are set to welcome the (2-10) New York Giants to town in a must-win contest today (8:15 PM ET Monday on ESPN).
The NFC Least? There’s a trick within comedy to set up a joke and it’s only fitting to introduce the NFC East the same way given how much of a comedic disaster that division has been all season long. So here it goes. The NFC East is so bad. How bad is it?
Glad you asked. The NFC East, once seen as a bit of a powerhouse in the NFL, is on pace to set records no one wants to be known for. After 12 games, this is the NFL’s worst division in 2019 and could ultimately go down as one of the worst divisions in the history of the NFL. Since the NFL’s realignment in 2002, that spot currently belongs to the 2010 NFC West, otherwise known as the division that sent a 7-9 Seattle Seahawks team to the playoffs. The Seahawks became the first team in a 16-game season to make the postseason with a sub-.500 record. As it looks in 2019, the same could be said for the NFC East.
So how bad is the NFC East? Prior to their loss on Sunday to the Green Bay Packers, the then 3-9 Washington Redskins were still alive in the playoff race. They started the season 1-9. That’s an indictment on a division that has spawned a series of memes about how none of the four teams even seem interested in winning. The Eagles had a chance to establish themselves, as did the (6-7) Dallas Cowboys, but the two top contenders kept losing to subpar opponents. The Cowboys, who started 3-0, have yet to beat a team with an over .500 record. Their best win came against the Eagles, as they blew out their fellow sub-.500 divisional rival.
Philadelphia went into their final five with two games against the two-win Giants, one against the three-win Redskins and another, last week, against the three-win Miami Dolphins. Philadelphia had a chance to write their own destiny but they lost to Miami. As crazy as it may be to believe, the Eagles are still very much alive and hold their destiny in their hands. If they can win out, they win the NFC East and with it, not the sixth seed in the playoffs as one would imagine would go to the league’s worst playoff team. No, by nature of being a division winner, the Eagles would manage the four-seed, even if they walk into the postseason as a sub-.500 team.
Right now, the best Philadelphia can do is a 9-7 record, which matches what Dallas can achieve. And these two teams play in late December effectively to decide the division. Three days before Christmas, that showdown in Philadelphia will provide quite the early present for one of them.
The Giants on the other hand, may just be playing for pride and perhaps in the role of spoiler. With two games remaining against the Eagles, the Giants could very well help determine which team wins the NFC East. How will it play out today? Read on for this preview’s New York Giants vs Philadelphia Eagles predictions.
The Return of Eli Manning
The Giants were dealt a tough blow last week when it was announced that an injury sustained by Daniel Jones in New York’s last game would keep the young upstart QB out of today’s game. Jones, who took over for Manning as the starter in the third week of the season, has been a breath of fresh air for New York. While the wins aren’t there, Jones has shown a spark that the Giants are confident in as they look to rebuild toward the future. At this point, Jones represents the future and the benched Manning, who won two Super Bowls for New York, is the past. Today the past becomes the present as Manning makes his 29th career start against one of his biggest career rivals.
As of the end of 2018, no team had Manning’s number more than the Eagles, who have won 18 of the 28 games against him. On the plus side, Manning also has thrown for more yards and more touchdowns against Philadelphia than any other team. On the minus side, Philadelphia has also sacked Manning 54 times, an average of nearly two per game. In the playoffs, Manning is 0-2 against the Eagles in the postseason as well.
While nothing is a foregone conclusion, the Eagles certainly have to like their chances when it comes to facing Manning as opposed to Jones, who has never made a career start against Philadelphia.
Barkley and Sanders Together Again
From approximately 2014-18 Giants’ Saquon Barkley and Eagles’ Miles Sanders, shared a backfield at Penn State University. Both were heavily recruited by the program but it was Barkley who emerged as the star, so much so the Giants took him with the second overall pick in 2018 NFL Draft. This left Sanders picking up the scraps, only getting to shine in his final year with the program. No longer backing up Barkley, Sanders had a breakthrough year, one that led to the Eagles drafting him in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
So now, for the first time in their careers, Barkley and Sanders will share the same field as NFL players. It’s pretty special for their coach, James Franklin. However, both players are focused less on the moment and more on what they need to do today.
For Barkley, it is getting back on the right track. Following an early season injury, Barkley has yet to regain the form that won him the offensive rookie of the year title last time. On the season, Barkley has just two rushing touchdowns, which is ranked second worst and is averaging just four yards per carry, which is third worst in the league. While not the only reason for the Giants’ lack of success in 2019, Barkley’s injury and affected performance has certainly played a part in their woes.
For Sanders, it is continuing to step up as the premier back in Jordan Howard’s injury absence. It’s also about helping his team get closer to securing a playoff berth that after last week, many stopped thinking possible. Sanders averages just 4.5 yards per carry and is yet to record a 100-yard game this season. His closer effort however came just last week. Firmly supplanted as the team’s top back for one of the first times this season, Sanders carried the ball 17 times for 83 yards. If he can top the 100-yard mark and best Barkley on the ground, the Eagles have to like their chances to win.
Our Preview’s New York Giants vs Philadelphia Eagles Predictions & Picks Conclusion
Despite a loss to the Dolphins last week, the Eagles find themselves 9.5 point home favorites with the top-grade bookies for Americans. It is a huge spread for a team coming off a loss to a team that is only a little better than New York. That said, the return of Manning, coupled with Barkley’s struggles, combined with the impact of playing at the Linc with their backs against the wall, suggests the Eagles will approach this game with a lot more intensity than they did last week. So this is how our New York Giants vs Philadelphia Eagles predictions for this preview look:
- While it’s a lofty cover, take the Eagles to pick up a huge win and cover the spread today on Monday Night Football. So bet Philadelphia -9.5pts @ best odds of -105 with Bovada, BetOnline or Intertops.
- For the second of the picks, expect the total points to be scored in this NFL matchup to stay under 45pts @ best odds of -105 with Bovada.